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Spinal Injury with AD

Martin was 19 years old when he was involved in an incident during a rugby match that left him with life-changing injuries.

Martin, an experienced rugby player, was involved in a tackle that forced his head forward resulting in a Cervical (C4) Spinal Cord Injury; an injury which caused paralysis from the neck down and a reduction in lung capacity. Doing something he loved, Martin stepped in at short notice to help a team who were a player short; this accident changed his life forever.

Routes Healthcare commenced caring for Martin in October 2011, putting a care team in place seven days a week to assist with his activities of daily living. The carers were carefully selected to match Martin’s clinical care needs and his personal interests. They have all undergone specialist internal and external training to safely support Martin with tasks such as:

  • Use of cough assist machine to help remove secretions from airways
  • Bladder and bowel management including intermittent catheterisation
  • Administering medications
  • Passive physiotherapy exercises
  • Use of specialist moving equipment including ceiling track hoists

Due to his condition Martin is at high risk of a potentially life-threatening condition called Autonomic Dysreflexia (AD) - this is a complication that comes with spinal cord injuries. This usually occurs because of a stimulus below the level of the injury, resulting in the blood pressure rising to dangerous levels. If untreated this can lead to stroke and possibly death. All Martin’s carers have been trained to recognise the symptoms of AD and act immediately, administering appropriate treatment.

Martin’s day to day living has completely changed since his accident. However, he has total control of his care and the care plan is completely driven by him; this enables him to maintain his independence and autonomy. Despite his injuries he will happily tell you that he maintains an incredible quality of life with his wife and teenage son. He describes himself as a house husband doing the shopping, cooking and cleaning with the help of his carers and assisted technology.

As a client he was interviewed by the CQC Inspection team as part of their regulatory audit process and it was to them that he expressed how happy he was with the care package and team. Highlighting how they often go above and beyond their duty, he reflected on how one of his carers assisted him to build his own wheelchair. Under his guidance and direction, they took apart an old wheelchair and sourced new parts to build it back up as new, creating a wheelchair for a fraction of the £2,000 it would have cost to buy.

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